Men in court for sex case

Howard Shaw

Two men charged with having sex with an underage girl were back in court on Monday.

Green activist Howard Shaw, 41, the scion of the prominent Shaw family,and Juerg Buergin, 40, the former executive director of operations at UBS Investment Bank, returned to court for discovery conferences, during which the prosecutionand defence teams exchanged case information.

Senior Counsel Harpreet Singh Nehal, whonowrepresents Shaw, said in a press release that his client has asked for an early plea to be taken on June 27.

A spokesman for Wong Partnership said till then she could not comment whether Shaw would plead guilty.

Formerly represented by Mr Wendell Wong of Drew and Napier, Shaw is now also represented by Ms Simran Toor and Mr Jared Chen of Wong Partnership.

The two men were among 48 men charged with having commercial sex with a Singaporean teenager whose services had been advertised on a website.

Shaw allegedly paid $500 for sex with the underage girl at Hotel 81 Bencoolen on October 30, 2010.

Paid for sex

Buergin's lawyer, Mr Selva K Naidu of Liberty Law Practice, however, told the press on Monday that Buergin intends to claim trial.

Buergin, 40, allegedly paid $600 for sex with the girl at Shangri-La Hotel on Sept 29, 2010, and subsequently paid $650 for sex at Mandarin Oriental Hotel on Jan 3 last year.

Said Mr Naidu: "An issue which may arise is, what if the act was not a mere mistake but a deception practised on the accused as to the age of the girl?

"If the accused had been tricked, is he still guilty as charged?"

Mr Naidu added that Buergin was currently not employed and had no intentions to leave the country.

Both men are out on bail. Buergin will return to court on July 3.

This article was first published in The New Paper.

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